Football coach pleads no contest in Ohio rape case
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (AP) A volunteer football coach whose house was the scene of an underage drinking party that preceded the rape of a girl by two high school football players in 2012 pleaded no contest to two charges on Tuesday, the Ohio attorney general’s office said.
Defendant Matt Belardine entered no contest pleas in Jefferson County court to one count of making a false statement and one count of enabling underage drinking. Charges of obstructing official business and contributing to the delinquency of a child were dismissed.
Special Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove sentenced Belardine to 10 days in jail, one year of supervision and 40 hours of community service. She also fined him $1,000.
A message left for Belardine’s attorney seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned.
Belardine was one of six people charged last year by a grand jury investigating whether other laws were broken in the case of the 16-year-old West Virginia girl who was raped after an alcohol-fueled house party in August 2012.
With Belardine’s plea, four of those cases have been resolved. The players were convicted in March 2013 and sentenced to the state’s juvenile detention system.
On April 11, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that a teacher and coach charged with a single misdemeanor count of failure to report child abuse or neglect involving the rape will have the charge dismissed in exchange for community service at a domestic violence shelter.
In February, a former school worker pleaded guilty to stealing computer equipment in a case that arose from the grand jury investigation but was not related to the girl’s rape.
In January, DeWine announced charges would be dropped against a Steubenville elementary school principal official in exchange for community service related to rape awareness. The principal was accused of failing to report rumors of a teenage sex and drinking party in April 2012 unrelated to the later rape.
A pre-trial hearing was scheduled Tuesday afternoon for William Rhinaman, the Steubenville schools’ former technology director, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of evidence tampering, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury.
Steubenville superintendent Mike McVey has pleaded not guilty to charges including obstructing justice and tampering with evidence and a misdemeanor charge alleging he made a false statement in April 2012. He has a motion hearing scheduled for May 5.